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The daily mantra that helps me deal with fear and insecurity

WOMAN IN PEACE

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Anna O'Neil - published on 06/04/18

You've probably heard this cliche a million times ... but here's how to truly make it work for you.

I’ve been rolling my eyes at the phrase my whole life, but it’s time for me to admit that “believing in myself” is actually getting me through a lot of fear and insecurity.

I dragged out my cobwebby old sewing machine the other day to make some curtains — about the simplest project there is. I was halfway down a seam when the thing started making a screeching noise loud enough to wake up both kids (which would have been catastrophic) and ground to a halt. It wasn’t smoking, but I figured if I pushed it any farther, something was going to melt, maybe explode.

I stood up to call my husband. He was out working on the car. Machines are his domain, right? Then, uncharacteristically, I stopped. I thought, “Hang on, I bet this just needs oil. Let me at least have a look.” I flipped the thing over, dug up a screwdriver, used an old paintbrush to oil whatever moving parts I could reach — and miracles of miracles, suddenly it was working! That’s when I realized that as embarrassing as it might be, “believe in yourself” was going to be my new mantra.

Since then, whenever I run up against something intimidating, it’s what I tell myself. A huge portion of my life scares the heck out of me, so it’s been a big deal. When I’m having an argument, and I’m tempted to quit trying to explain myself, and back down? I think Believe in yourself! When I’m tearing out my hair because I keep yelling at my son, and I’m about to stick him in front of the TV, instead of making one more effort? Believe in yourself, girl.

I know that believing in yourself doesn’t guarantee success, but the phrase does remind me that success is possible — and that it’s worth a try. In that way, it’s giving me more hope. After all, if I don’t even think it’s worth trying, I’m never going to make progress.

More than hope, though, believing in myself is reminding me to be brave. Yes, I might fail. I might mess up the sewing machine, I might end up looking stupid, I might lose my temper one more time, in spite of all those good intentions. Failure is really, really scary. But then, courage doesn’t mean not being scared — it means not letting your fear stop you from doing what you need to do.

Having a quick phrase that sums up an important idea is incredibly helpful. There’s a reason that recovering alcoholics use all those pithy slogans. With a little practice, they pop up in your mind just in time to help, when you’re faced with an important choice. So when I’m tempted to give up before I even begin, that’s when I’m glad to have the phrase in my arsenal. It might be a cliche, but its the short, sweet reminder that I can push past my fear and make an attempt.


DR ALAN GALINSKY

Read more:
How to speak up for yourself without being aggressive (VIDEO)

Tags:
Personal GrowthPsychology
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